New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has slammed the Archaeological Survey of India for its failure to construct an Institute of Archaeology, saying its lackadaisical approach has cost an avoidable payment of over Rs 2.60 crore.
In a report tabled in Parliament on Friday, CAG has said that ASI had proposed in 1998 to acquire 25 acres of land from the Greater Noida Authority at a cost of Rs 4.77 crore at Greater Noida and the land was allotted two years later, while ASI executed the lease agreement for the plot in December 2004.
As per terms of the lease agreement, the construction of the proposed building was to be completed within two years of the allotment.
After a lapse of over six years, the ASI could only manage to finalise the executing agency. The ASI had also incurred expenditure of Rs 83 lakh on preparation of concept plan, drawings, boundary wall and watch and ward arrangements for the plot till March 2012, it added.
Though the extension of time granted by the Greater Noida Authority was over by January 2011, it was only in June that the ASI applied for further extension of time to the Authority.
The authority agreed to extend the time up to December 2014 on payment of late fee of Rs 18.77 crore within 15 days. The ASI, however, failed to pay the late fee and eventually the Authority cancelled the allotment of land in November 2012.
The Authority refunded a sum of Rs 2.99 crore to the ASI through Demand Draft in December 2012 after making deductions of Rs 1.78 crore on account of penalty, but the latter did not deposit the same in bank, thus allowing the DD to lapse resulting in blocking of funds, the report added.